Only a few short years ago, the world was introduced to the Raspberry Pi, the $35 computer. Its hard to image that a device that small can do so much, but it does. That single device has seemed to have created a whole new market of single board computers. We now have the Raspberry Pi 2, Banana Pi, Orange Pi, Beagle Bone, pcDuino, etc. Most of these devices are based on the ARM processor. Each device has its own set of specs and features, and that makes certain ones useful for certain projects, and others are better suited for others.
I picked up the pcDuino3 Nano Lite from Amazon for $15! For the price I couldn’t pass up the chance at grabbing one and testing it out. What makes this board unique is it supports gigabit ethernet and a SATA port. The ethernet and SATA port are integrated into the Allwinner A20 chip, so it’s not an extra USB add on, so performance should be great.
- CPU: AllWinner A20 SoC, 1GHz ARM Cortex A7 Dual Core
- GPU: OpenGL ES2.0, OpenVG 1.1, Mali 400 Dual Core
- DRAM: 1GB
- Onboard Storage: MicroSD card (TF) slot for up to 32GB
- Arduino extension interface: Arduino sockets, same as Arduino UNO 14xGPIO, 2xPWM, 6xADC, 1xUART, 1xSPI, 1xI2C
I used a SanDisk Ultra 32 GB card from Amazon for only $10. I really like using these cards because their fast and cheap. I haven’t had any issues using this card in any of my devices whether its a camera or single board pc.
For the OS, I used Armbian. There are 2 choices you can download, Legacy and Vanilla. The difference between the 2 are what version of the kernel it uses. I chose the Legacy jessie (Debian) because at the time, it had better hardware support. The mainline kernel is progressing nicely, so by this time, vanilla might be a better choice.
Overall, I am very happy with the device. It has been running rock solid for the last 5 months as a production server with no reboots. The footprint is small, and power consumption is low, making it perfect for a mail server, nagios server or and other small uses.